Cupertino, East Palo Alto Rotary Clubs Collect Instruments for EPA Students

Two Bay Area Rotary clubs have joined forces for the first time to host a musical-instruments donation drive for students in East Palo Alto.

Dozens of guitars, violins, flutes and other instruments have already been collected for schools in the Peninsula community.

Members of the youth services committee at the Cupertino Rotary Club contacted the East Palo Alto Rotary Club after noticing many of the musical instruments played by kids in Cupertino often get left behind.

“Every single family always has an instrument, but when the kids go to college, they are in the garage,” said Don Sun, Co-Chair of the Cupertino Rotary Club youth service committee. “It’s a treasure to reuse them for other kids.”

Cupertino Rotary worked with students from IvyMax Academy, a tutoring and college preparatory program in Cupertino, to donate instruments.

So far, 60 instruments have been donated, as well as $7,000. About $5,000 of that will be used to purchase more instruments, and $2,000 will be allocated for repair costs.

“So many children are pushed to science and math, but we forget that playing musical instruments is a great way to calm down, connect with self, and share with others,” said Ramesh Azariah, East Palo Alto Rotary Club Board Member. He says many musicians have originated from East Palo Alto, and new instruments will help create the next generation of artists.

Azariah believes increasing the musical presence in East Palo Alto, at a time when extracurricular programs are hurting for funding, will greatly benefit the city’s children.

“We know the value of musical instruments and it’s a proven thing that it opens the brain waves,” Azariah said. “If we can help enhance that for children we think it will be great.”

The drive ends this Sunday, Dec. 20, when both communities come together for a musical celebration at Cupertino Community Hall from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mayors from both Cupertino and East Palo Alto are expected to attend.

“For a financially stronger community to help another community is a great thing,” Sun said. “We’re so excited.”

For more information on ways to donate, or to attend Sunday’s event, contact the Cupertino Rotary Club.

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